Archaeological bone undergoes alterations after burial (diagenesis) that constitute a problem for the survival of archaeological information. A common method to assess this alteration is Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR). However, the commonly applied method (FTIR-KBr) is destructive and sample preparation may influence the results. This paper tests the suitability of FTIR attenuated total reflection (FTIR-ATR), a method not commonly used to investigate bone diagenesis. FTIR-ATR requires less sample preparation and can be non-destructive, allowing analysis of bone cross-sections. Modern and archaeological bones were analysed using both methods and different sample preparation methods were tested. The results show that FTIR-ATR has advantages for the rapid assessment of bone diagenesis. © University of Oxford, 2012.